Solomon Islands' PM drops out of leadership race

The prime minister of Solomon Islands has announced he will not stand for another term. This comes after Manasseh Sogavare, the country's pro-China leader, failed to secure a majority in the general election earlier this month.

Sogavare made the announcement at a press conference on Monday.

The relationship between the Pacific island nation and China was among the main issues in the April 17th election. Sogavare's party won only 15 of the 50 parliamentary seats up for grabs.

After taking office in 2019, Sogavare moved to deepen ties with Beijing, and switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

The country later signed a security pact with Beijing which raised concerns in the US and Australia over China's growing influence in the region.

In place of Sogavare, the ruling party has nominated Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele as its candidate. Manele has said that Chinese aid has played an important role in his country's development.

The ruling party says it has secured the support from a majority of lawmakers. For its part, the opposition coalition which opposes Sogavare's pro-China policies has announced it is fielding its own candidate.

The lawmakers are set to vote for the next prime minister on Thursday.